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Obama Pitches Public Service—On the Net

USAService.org connects volunteers to projects

(Newser) - Barack Obama, like John F. Kennedy before him, has issued a call to service in a novel medium. For Kennedy it was television, and Obama, unsurprisingly, is using the Internet to drum up volunteerism, Time reports. USAService.org allows willing citizens to find projects, or even organize them, and capitalizes... More »

Millions Mobilize for SoCal Earthquake Drill

Students, workers practice ducking and covering in pretend 7.8 temblor

(Newser) - An estimated 5 million volunteers and emergency personnel participated in a huge earthquake drill in Southern California today, the Los Angeles Times reports. The “ShakeOut,” as it is known, was designed to raise awareness of the continued need for earthquake preparedness. California will almost certainly get hit with... More »

Obama Forces Battle for Va.

McCain forced to defend GOP stronghold

(Newser) - Virginia hasn’t swung Democrats’ way since Lyndon Johnson, but suddenly it’s a battleground, the Washington Post reports, and Obama appears to have all the tactical advantages. The Dem has three times as many campaign offices, and his army of volunteers has registered almost a half-million new voters. More »

Get the Most Bang for Your Activist Buck

(Newser) - There are a scant 27 days left to dedicate your blood, sweat, and tears to your candidate of choice. But some activists' moves are better than others. Christopher Beam runs down the best way to put your limited resources to good use in Slate: Got time to kill?
  1. Knock on
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Storms Test New FEMA System

'Dynamic' approach distributes response burden

(Newser) - With three big storms hitting the US within about a week, FEMA is attempting to stay a step ahead, planning emergency response strategies and deploying supplies. The agency's new "dynamic regrouping" plan represents a real-time collaboration between military, civilian, and volunteer personnel, the Christian Science Monitor reports. "The... More »

Quake Efforts Break Barriers in China

Ordinary citizens donate, head to quake scene without government coordination

(Newser) - The Chinese people have responded to last week's Sichuan earthquake with an unprecedented outpouring of volunteer work and donations—outside the scope, and control, of the Chinese government, the New York Times reports. China’s regime doesn’t trust public activism, and has long restricted private charity groups. But the... More »

Nonprofit Builds Free Houses for Wounded Vets

Mass. group provides 'great ending to bad beginning'

(Newser) - A nonprofit group is putting up customized homes for badly injured vets returning from Iraq and Afghanistan, the Christian Science Monitor reports. Massachusetts-based Homes for Our Troops is building in 20 states, fueled by donated supplies, land, and labor. “When a vet is in need, people come out of... More »

Volunteer Efforts Revive New Orleans Firehouses

Donations help fix 'critical safety issue'

(Newser) - With public money tied up, generous donations of time and funds have restored four New Orleans firehouses, the Times-Picayune reports. "This is a critical safety issue,” said the district chief. With 22 of 33 city firehouses hit hard in 2005 by Hurricane Katrina, many firefighters still work out... More »

SF Oil Cleanup Gases Up, Volunteers Rebuffed

Coast Guard sends eager residents home

(Newser) - As cleanup of the San Francisco oil spill intensifies, so does the frustration of volunteers blocked from pitching in. At least one organizer ended up in handcuffs when his group ignored a park ranger's order to get off a beach and instead scooped up globs of oil. Hundreds of residents... More »

'Voluntourism' Feeds Profits, Not Mouths

Gap-year travelers waste their time and money, charity claims

(Newser) - A leading British charity has blasted the new "voluntourism" industry as an amateurish scam, writes the Times of London. The vogue for gap-year travel to developing countries, where young volunteers pay for the privilege of teaching children or building homes does little good and enriches nobody but the travel... More »

Wal-Mart Mexico Pays Teen Baggers Nada

Retail giant calls young, uncompensated workers 'volunteers'

(Newser) - Wal-Mart has 4,300 teenagers bagging merchandise for free in its Mexican stores, Newsweek reports. The retail giant isn't doing anything illegal, since the kids aren't technically workers but "volunteers" who donate their time in exchange for gratuities from customers. But labor activists say the notoriously bottom-line-minded company is... More »

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